the window – 29 january 2017

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Theatre Arts Admin Collective
Methodist Church Hall, Cnr Milton Road & Wesley Street, Observatory, Cape Town
Doors open 19:30
R50

20:00 – Main Hall – Lliezel Ellick / Roxanne De Freitas / Rosemary Lombard (vocal performance piece)
20:25 – Main Hall – Louise Westerhout /Keenan Chas Ahrends / Nicola van Straaten (word/sound/dance)
20:40 – Minor Hall – Inka Kendzia / Jessica Smith (video and live performance)
BREAK
21:00 – Main Hall – Rhea Dally / Justin Allart (sound/noise performance)
21:20 – Main Hall – Lucy Hazard / Puleng Lange-Stewart / Hannah Walton (video with spoken word performance)
21:35 – Minor Hall – FAITH XVII (video installation)
BREAK
22:00 – Main Hall – Chantelle Gray (performance piece)
22:20 – Main Hall – Debra Pryor / Mark O’ Donovan (performance piece)
Continuous – Meeting Room 1 – Sydelle Willow Smith (photography)
Continuous – Meeting Room 2 – Miranda Moss (installation)
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THE WINDOW

A window I. A partition. A voyeuristic interface between spaces. A civilizing constraint. Gazing. At the window, through the window, beyond the window. The voyeuristic gaze: preconditioned values, assumptions, desire. The civilizing gaze: conditioning values, assumptions, desire. Gazing. An act of memorializing (it suggests spectatorship, a fetishistic surveying; it suggests participation: in memory, in meaning-making).

A window II. A framing device. Commonly used in art and cinema. To exaggerate part or parts of a figure (forms, tones, shapes, shadows). To recompose an image. To slice up the world into smaller, more wieldy frames. To elicit metaphorical interpretation. (The audience is prompted to step into a world of windows.)

A window III. The window. A composing stratagem. (A perspectival arrangement.) A voyeuristic interface between artist and audience. An invitation to interact with the unknown, the unknowable, the known known. It is not a linear perspective of space, but a cutting up of, slicing into, carving through. (It suggests the existence of another, entirely otherworldly, place.)
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“A concept is a brick. It can be used to build a courthouse of reason. Or it can be thrown through the window.”
– Gilles Deleuze

john berger – ways of seeing (1972)

I cannot overstate how immensely John Berger contributed to awakening a critical understanding of Western cultural aesthetics and ethics in me. I feel deeply indebted. Here’s a wonderful recent interview with the man.

On this, his 90th birthday, I thought it fitting to look back on this BAFTA award-winning TV series from 1972, which rapidly became regarded as one of the most influential art programmes ever made. Ways of Seeing is a four-part BBC series of 30-minute films, created chiefly by writer John Berger and producer Mike Dibb. Berger’s scripts were adapted into a book of the same name.

The series and book critique traditional Western cultural aesthetics by raising questions about hidden ideologies in visual images. The series is partially a response to Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation series, which represents a more traditionalist view of the Western artistic and cultural canon.

In the first programme, Berger examines the impact of photography on our appreciation of art from the past.

The second programme deals with the portrayal of the female nude, an important part of the tradition of European art. Berger examines these paintings and asks whether they celebrate women as they really are or only as men would like them to be.

With the invention of oil paint around 1400, painters were able to portray people and objects with an unprecedented degree of realism, and painting became the ideal way to celebrate private possessions. In this programme, John Berger questions the value we place on that tradition.

In this programme, Berger analyses the images of advertising and publicity and shows how they relate to the tradition of oil painting – in moods, relationships and poses.

More John Berger on Fleurmach:

John Berger on being born a woman

John Berger – “Les Petites Chaises”

What I rail against, impotently, and wish I could embrace